Supervisors at Escondida copper mine fail to reach labor deal

Striking workers at Escondida mine, February 2017. Image: Al Jazeera via YouTube

 The union of supervisors at Chile’s Escondida mine, the world’s largest copper deposit, said it had rejected BHP´s final offer in contract negotiations, raising the specter of a strike.

A tally viewed by Reuters showed 78% of the union´s members voted against the offer. The union has yet to announce when the strike might begin.

Copper prices have been supported recently by concern about potential strikes in Chile, the world’s biggest producer.

Escondida could continue to operate even if the supervisors walk off the job, but a strike could create bottlenecks and slowdowns.

The union and management ended five days of government mediation on Thursday after failing to reach agreements during the initial bargaining period.

Escondida produced 1.19 million tons of copper in 2019.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero in Santiago Writing by Dave Sherwood Editing by Chris Reese and Sonya Hepinstall)

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